If there's one village in the Côte de Beaune I would choose for red Burgundy, it's Volnay. No village is as synonymous with a trio of star leaders steeped in history as that of Marquis d'Angerville, De Montille, and Michel Lafarge. There's little confusion in glass, as these domaines have distinctive tell-tale signs.

Marquis d'Angerville is the model of Volnay sophistication. De-stemmed, fruit-forward, with plush and polished tannins, mainly coming from the pump over-only protocol during ferment. This house style meshes brilliantly with the chalky, heavily limestone-dominant Volnay terroir.

De Montille takes the reverse route, relying only on whole-cluster vinification with punch downs. The wines can be pale, but on the palate, the grip and piano-string tautness of structure scream classicism—a throwback to the late patriarch Hubert de Montille's aesthetic. While son, Etienne de Montille has slowly adopted techniques to turn out slightly more approachable wines, these are still very much rooted in the old-school style, and for this, I love the breath of fresh air.

Michel Lafarge tugs at my heartstrings. Tradition can mean so many things in Burgundy, but using hand-destemming and reliance on mainly older barrels for aging places this domaine in a unique position. Pumpovers mainly here. It may be unfair to categorize Volnay as feminine and ethereal, leading one to believe the wines lack the rigid structure required for serious aging, which always brings my mind to Levi Dalton's interview with Michel's son, Fredric, on I'll Drink to That—one of my favorites of the nearly 500 episodes to date. This quote sticks with me and perhaps is the single most overriding element of today's best Volnays.

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